We’ve all had bad jobs. Maybe they were the wrong fit. Or maybe the employer had fallen into one of the traps of toxic corporate culture that are so very common. Here’s a short list of question to ask yourself about a company which will tell you if it has a toxic work culture and if it can be fixed.
1. Does the company invest in its people?
A good company wants to keep and grow the staff it has, not run through an endless cycle of half-trained replacements. If your company seems to have a high turnover rate, it’s definitely a warning sign of a potentially toxic work culture, and a sign that the company should consider investing in additional training. Formal management training for supervisors and managers will make everything run more smoothly, teach them to be more effective, and foster better cooperation.
2. Who’s in charge, and why?
We’re in an era where people have realized how important it is that no one is above having their conduct scrutinized. CEOs and upper management who can’t be trusted need to be removed. Which leads directly into the next point.
3. Does the company promote accountability or blame?
Who steps up when something has gone wrong? This is a matter of trust. Employees need to know that everyone, from the CEO on down through every level of management, will be held fairly accountable for their actions. Whistle-blowing is not tattling. Integrity and fairness in upper management will both improve morale and encourage everyone to be more ethical in their actions.
4. Does the company invest in diversity and inclusion?
Although it’s well known that an inclusive culture makes a positive difference in a workplace, corporate diversity is still behind, especially in the C-suite, where you’ll often find a bunch of white men. Nearly 80 percent of employees who left their jobs said they had been stereotyped or harassed or had microaggressions directed at them. But two-thirds of the people who left said they would have stayed if their employers had done something to fix the toxic work culture.
5. Is the company a pressure cooker?
Are employees in the break room bragging about how much unpaid overtime they put in or how little sleep they’ve had that week? Or are there punitive measures for quotas that rise every time they’re met? These are both signs of a toxic work culture, or at least of a workforce riddled with inevitable burnout.
Some careers simply are stressful, it’s true. But a workplace can go a long way towards softening that stress. It’s important that values, ethics, and employee health come above profits and deadlines, in any business, and that has to be introduced from above.